Recent Posts:

A look at how bad 2009 was for solar companies

Rob Day: August 13, 2010, 2:36 PM

At Canaccord Genuity's very good sustainability dinner in Boston this week, I had an enjoyable conversation with CG's Marc Marano, a leader on their cleantech team.  He told me about some pretty interesting data they'd pulled together on the solar industry.

We're all familiar already with what a down year 2009 was for financings, but perhaps no sector was harder hit than solar panel manufacturers.  Marc's team had pulled together a list of all the financings in the solar sector for the five quarters Q1 2009 through Q1 2010.  And looking over their tally, I see 18 follow-on rounds during that period to solar panel manufacturers or their suppliers.

Twelve of those rounds were insider...

Learnings from the Gevo S-1

Rob Day: August 13, 2010, 12:29 PM

S-1s are great.  You can't learn everything about a company from them, but you can learn a heck of a lot.  And when the company is pretty indicative of an entire subsector, you can use that company's data to help illustrate trends across a market.

Gevo's S-1 is well worth reading through.  Because the company is, I think, fairly illustrative of what many venture-backed "2nd generation biofuels" stories have looked like.  I don't have any insider knowledge of Gevo, so it's also a good one for me to talk about simply from what's in the S-1 and available to all...

Here are some interesting (to me, at least) tidbits:

1. The funding path [caveat - this is all as estimated and perhaps...

Why THESE companies are IPOing

Rob Day: August 13, 2010, 10:07 AM

As an active investor in the cleantech market I'm definitely hoping we can start to see some successful exits.  I, like others, am pining for a few successful IPOs with stellar returns that can be good beacons of hope for the rest of the sector's bets.  When there were practically zero venture-backed IPOs across all sectors, you knew there was a backlog of cleantech companies that were lining up to IPO and couldn't.  And of course now that the IPO window is re-opened slightly, it's not surprising to see venture-backed cleantech startups jumping in and filing to go public.

But why are THESE the ones that are doing so?  A123, Codexis, Tesla, Amyris, PetroAlgae, Gevo... Several with no...

The other big climate policy battle

Rob Day: August 8, 2010, 8:45 PM

Now that Harry "Lucy" Reid has pulled the climate legislation football away at the last minute, cleantech investors can be forgiven for taking a big sigh and forgetting about climate policy for a while.  After all, until a couple of years ago most cleantech VCs were adamant about purposefully ignoring policy efforts and effects, because of the randomness factor it would imply for their investments.  Of course, with a more supportive administration and supposedly looming national climate legislation many VCs have ended up spending much more time on policy work and visits to Washington, DC than they'd expected to.  And so it wouldn't be surprising to see these investors take the...

Energy efficiency: Where angels will shine

Rob Day: August 1, 2010, 6:49 PM

As you pull into the parking lot, the grit of crumbling asphalt crunches under your tires. No shade trees or white curbs in this parking lot, just lines on tarmac, narrow spaces, and an unfiltered summer sun.  You get out of your car and look up at the tall, nondescript brick building, and head toward the effectively unmarked entrance, a metal door that makes you remember public schools from years ago.  A train rattles by on an elevated track directly behind the building, picking up speed as it carries its daily delivery of bankers and lawyers downtown. A few other people amble into and out of the building, but it's far from busy.  This isn't one of the newer generation buildings with...

What climate bill?

Rob Day: July 22, 2010, 2:22 PM

It's 2nd down and about 10 yards to go, and Harry Reid decided he might as well punt.

With today's news that any upcoming energy bill won't include climate legislation or even a renewable portfolio standard, cleantech entrepreneurs and investors are left scratching their heads.  Yet more uncertainty.

I continue to see pitches from companies with smart, low-cost approaches to carbon emissions, but lacking more of a certain price and market for carbon credits, they're having a really hard time raising capital.  Ditto for anything related to carbon capture and storage.  And in many other areas of cleantech, the lack of certainty around energy and carbon pricing is a killer.  I'm even...